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A Locals Guide to Newlands Forest

Newlands forest is a gem of Cape Town. Located on the Eastern Slopes of Table Mountain it receives more rainfall than any other part of Cape Town. The result is a spectacular green forest filled with ancient trees, waterfalls, flowers, mushrooms, moss, rivers and ravines! When you enter Newlands forest you immediately sense this is a magical place. The sounds of running water, the fresh forest air, and the scent of wet moss transform you into the present moment.

Brown Strong French Bulldog in the Forest Cape Town
Choppa the Frenchi, King of the forest.

What I particularly love about Newlands forest is that within 3 minute's walk of the parking lot, you are in paradise and next to the river. I've done 20-minute walks there and felt recharged and I have done trails to the top of table mountain and got a good workout. Newlands forest is so many things to so many different types of people.

Newlands Forest Activities

  • Newlands Forest Picnic Area

  • Dog Walking

  • Forest Walks

  • Newlands Forest Braai Area

  • Trail Running Newlands Forest

  • Picnicking in Newlands Forest

  • Mushroom Foraging

  • Chilled walks

Newlands forest entry fee

Entrance into Newlands Forest is free. The Main Parking to Newlands Forest is R25 per car, however, there are a few entrances that have free parking, make sure to tip the parking guards (R10-R20)

Picnicking in Newlands forest

There are 2 main options when picnicking in Newlands Forest.

  1. The Official Braai and Picnic Area.

  2. Finding any tree on the path in the forest and laying out a blanket.

Newlands forest Braai Area Entrance Fee.

This main area for braaing/picnicking is great if you want to spend the day and braai (BBQ) in the forest. Just make sure you bring your own Wood/ Charcoal and braai grid. There is plenty of shade under the canopy of trees.

  • Alcohol is NOT allowed

  • Dogs are NOT allowed in this area.

Below are the fees to access the designated picnic and braai area.

RSA Resident

Non-RSA Resident







Picnic in the Forest

If you don't intend on having a big picnic or braai, I like to just walk up the mountain a little bit with my Doggo, a small bag, a blanket and a few snacks. We will generally find a quiet spot next to the river and spend a couple of hours relaxing in the forest. There is no designated area, just be respectful to other people, don't make too much noise and play music. This is a place for nature.

Newlands Forest Hiking

Newlands forest is a part of Table Mountain national park, which means that there are an infinite amount of hiking trails that can be done from Newlands Forest. You can hike right up to the top of table mountain and over if you want.

What makes Newlands forest great is that the forest and rivers extend away from the mountain. This means that you can access beautiful greenery, small waterfalls and rivers without having to hike up a mountain.

Green ferns and Forest waterfall on Table Mountain
Hike to Cecilia Forest Waterfall.

Table Mountain Hiking Trails Close to Newlands Forest

  • Natures Ravine

  • Skeleton Gorge

  • Cecilia Forest

Newlands Forest Walks

Newlands Forest is the perfect place for a chilled forest walk. You are able to experience the wonders of table mountain without hiking up a mountain.

There are times you just want to be in nature without having to hike a mountain.

Newlands Forest Picnic area

Newlands forest picnic area is Newlands forest Braai area. The same rates and rules apply.

How long is the Newlands forest hike?

A Newlands forest hike is as long as you want it to be. It is not like one of those hikes where you need to get to a destination and do a round trip back. You basically walk as far as you want to go and then walk back more or less the same way. The Minimum amount of time you would need is about 30 minutes, but you can send hours there.

Water dripping off Ferns is one of the amazing things you can find.

Feel free to add in your tips and recommendations in the comments.

Article (Words and Images) by Craig Howes

Dog Walking Newlands Forest

You are allowed to walk dogs in Newlands forest.

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